What is a crown?

Dental crowns are an ideal restoration for teeth which have broken, cracked or been
weakened by tooth decay or a very large filling. The crown fits right over the remaining part of the tooth, making
it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. Crowns are
sometimes called caps.

Why would I need a crown?

There are a number of reasons:

  • Your tooth was weakened by having a very large filling.

  • You have discolored fillings or a dark tooth and would like to improve the appearance.

  • You have had a root canal which will require a crown to protect it.

  • Your tooth was fractured or cracked.

What are crowns made of?

 Crowns are made of a variety of materials. Each choice has advantages and
disadvantages. Here are some of the options:

  • Porcelain bonded to precious metal: This is the majority of crowns. A precious
    metal base is made and porcelain is then applied.

  • Porcelain: These crowns are not as strong as porcelain bonded to metal but they can
    look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.

  • Precious metal (gold): These crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are
    usually used at the back of the mouth where they are not visible.

How is a tooth prepared for a crown?

The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface and leaving a strong inner 'core.' The amount of tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression with a digital scanner. With this new technology there is no need for sticky impression material that can cause gagging. The digital impressions are transmitted to our own laboratory technicians along with any other information needed to make the crown.

Who makes the crown?

The impression and shade information will be given to our in-house dental technicians. They are highly skilled and very experienced in making crowns. Using the digital information, models of your teeth will be milled using cad-cam technology. The crown will be constructed by hand to ensure that the crown fits perfectly. All of our crowns are handmade in-house. Computer aided crown fabrication available elsewhere does not meet our high standards.

Will the crown be noticeable?

No. A porcelain/metal crown, or an all porcelain crown, will be made to match your other teeth exactly. The shade of the neighboring teeth will be recorded to make sure that the color looks natural and matches the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown, usually made in plastic, will be fitted at the end of the first appointment to last until the permanent one is ready. Though temporary in nature, these plastic crowns are made to function very effectively.

How long does treatment take?

At least two visits are needed, the first for the preparation, impression, shade matching and fitting the temporary crown, and the second to fit the permanent crown.

Does it hurt to have
a tooth prepared for a crown?

No. A local anesthetic is used and the preparation will feel no different than a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve, then local anesthetic may not be needed.

How long will a crown last?

The life of a crown will depend on your oral hygiene. The crown itself cannot decay, but decay can start where the edge of the crown joins the tooth. It is very important to keep this area as clean as your other teeth, or decay may occur around the crown. Properly cared for crowns will last for many years -- your dentist will advise you how long.

How are crowns fixed to teeth?crown cemented onto tooth

Once the fit and appearance of the crown has been checked -- and approved by you -- it will be cemented in place with special dental cement. The cement also forms a seal to hold it firmly in place.  

Will the crown feel different?

No. It should feel fine and natural to you. The crown may need some adjustment if it feels like it crowds the surrounding teeth. If it is at all uncomfortable, you should ask your dentist to check and adjust it.


650 Brighton Ave. Portland, ME 04102